A global shortage of cyber security skills is projected to continue in the next three years, according to the broker

The pandemic-influenced transition to hybrid working has created the need for a “material increase” in the cyber security investment made by companies as cyber threats continue to grow.

This is according to broker Aon’s latest Global Market Insights Report for Q4 2022, which predicted that cybercrime would become a major threat for businesses in the UK and globally as changes in working practices contribute to a new range of cyber risks.

“The Covid-19 pandemic caused an increase in cyber attacks as companies navigated the unprecedented nature of the situation and tried to rapidly educate employees about the cyber threats related to remote working,” the report explained.

These risks were exacerbated by the geopolitical events and conflicts experienced around the world in 2022, which evidenced an increased willingness from nation states to use cyber attacks to further their strategic agendas.

Aon’s report added that there have also been significant increases in hardware and software vulnerabilities over the last few years, which cyber criminals have used to quickly gain unauthorised access to networks.

Insider threats

The report added that data brokers and ransomware actors were looking to opportunistically “buy” data and access from employees within companies, which has led to the emergence of a new “insider threat” risk – where cyber criminals openly look for employees willing to sell a company’s data for personal gain.

This evolving risk includes comprises the threats of data theft, proprietary information theft, intellectual property theft and concerns about trade secrets.

“While certain acts of cybercrime have decreased in 2022, the data access brokers have never stopped gaining unauthorised access to client networks and infrastructure and vulnerability exploitation was one of the main methods utilised by these brokers,” added Aon.

The broker warned: “The prominence of long-term hybrid working, rise in ransomware and widespread data breaches will serve to drive a material increase in cyber security investment as cyber priorities make it to the top of the agenda for most companies around the globe.

“While we are likely to see leaps in innovation aiming to tackle the ever-evolving cyber security landscape, a global shortage of cyber security skills is projected to continue in the next three years as cyber criminals employ new tools and techniques to bypass even the most robust security measures.”

As such, Aon said cyber insurance would continue to play an important role in managing cyber risk.

It added that there had been a marked shift in the cyber insurance market, which has become more buyer friendly compared to earlier in the year.

“Businesses with mature, best in class cyber risk profiles – especially those which experienced significant price increases in recent years – have options in the market as the pricing environment decelerates materially and more capacity becomes available,” explained the broker.

“Underwriting scrutiny remains elevated and proactive risk assessments will continue to be key in engaging constructively with insurers.”